Richard Broom Photography

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The Sound Recorders

Here are two remarkable people who record sounds out there in the real world. I always feel that my dull images and videos could be spiced up with sound and that I should be recording more sound. These two people are my inspiration! Also interesting to see how much you can earn when you run a YouTube Channel.

You can find these remarkable folks and buy their recordings here: Their Youtube Channel is here:

The Castle

Findlater Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Built in the 1400s, abandoned in the 1600s. One owner, Sir John Gordon, fell out with Mary Queen of Scots and she had his head chopped off (I bet that hurt). Later, Queen Elizabeth 1 of England did to Mary Queen of Scots what Mary did to Sir John Gordon. It surely didn’t pay to upset people way back then! Off with their heads! Ouch!

The Castle – Richard Broom Photography

The Oops Moment…

My wife asked me to order two new broom handles online and, being the obliging, highly obedient, house-trained and dutiful husband I am, I did as I was told (is there any other alternative?). The image shows what arrived in the post this morning. I think, perhaps, I got my measurements wrong. If anyone can think of a use for two very short bits of stick, please let me know.

The Oops Moment – Richard Broom Photography

The QRM from John’s radio…

Okay. I lied about the last blog post of the year (previous post).

But, if Boris ‘pilllock‘ Johnson can lie to the world repeatedly, then so can I!!!

If you look at John’s blog post (please click here), you’ll see he’s getting QRM on 540 Khz. QRM is radio-speak for interference or, maybe, jamming.

John is in Las Vegas and I’m in Scotland and so, I tuned to 540 Khz on my radio to see what I would receive here on the fashionable side of the North Atlantic. And what I get on 540 Khz is a station broadcasting in a language I do not recognise. Please take a listen to the video below. If anyone knows the cause of John’s interference (I wonder about his ceiling fan!), or the language recorded in my video below, please do let us know.

Happy New Year again. This might really be my past blog post of 2020. Let’s hope for a wonderful 2021.

STOP PRESS. I just found this.

The Actor – Iona Reid – NEW PODCAST!

Please listen in to our most recent Banff Spy podcast featuring Iona Reid who is a young, up and coming actress based in Turriff in North East Scotland.

You can listen to Iona talking about acting and acting training by clicking on this link.

Please check out our Banff Spy website by clicking here.

And he’s a photograph of Iona who is also the Banff Spy Podcast Producer:

Iona Reid
Iona overlooking Banff and the River Deveron - Aberdeenshire
Iona overlooking Banff and the River Deveron – Aberdeenshire

The Morse Code

You might think that Morse code had died out long ago. Here’s a recording of what is known as a ‘pile up.’ About 11 seconds into the recording, you’ll hear Radio Amateur enthusiasts around the world trying to make contact with one person who has a rare callsign. Radio Amateurs record the contacts (AKA QSOs) with other Radio Amateurs around the world and collect contacts like other people collect rare stamps. The Morse code is alive and well!

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The Gird Your Loins Image

I’m not sure why the phrase ‘Gird Your Loins’ sprang to mind when I created the image below (lockdown lunacy). Perhaps the rope had something to do with it. The image overall looks, I think, like some kind of strange space alien warrior. I can’t help thinking, also, that this is a female space alien. The image was created using a Photoshop plugin from Flaming Pear.

And, I searched on ‘gird your loins’ and found the second image in this post which brought me to a some wonderful art and illustrations by Ted Slampyak Kinyak his site is really worth looking at. You’ll find some wonderful illustrations on Ted’s site (click here to visit).

And so now, you can go out and gird up your loins……

Image by Ted Slampyak Kinyak

The Map for John!

I’ve been talking to John in Nevada about the need for exercise. We are lucky, we live in a sparsely populated area and so we can take our dog for long morning walks without meeting many (or any) people. The problem is, the 5 Km walk doesn’t offset the intake of chocolate hobnobs (an essential food item surely?). Here’s our route map.

PS: map tipped over sideways so it will fit on the page better.

And here’s the beach

The Promise

I promised to send John in Nevada an image of the boats in MacDuff Harbour at low water. We’ll, we’re just past low water and the tide is well and truly out and below you can see PD182 sitting on the harbour bottom waiting for the tide to come in. The bottom of the harbour is a mixture of mud, sand and silt and so the boats cannot come to any harm. They just sit there in sludge for a few hours every day. When the tide is out and the boats are sitting on the harbour bottom, you can see that these fishing vessels have a deep draft. They’re built for the very worst conditions you will find out in the North Sea and the North Atlantic.

The Wooden Wonder

Only the Brits could make a jet aircraft using wood (see image below). In these days of carbon fibre, I feel wood is much underrated as a building material. Bring back wood (and a few more trees). Don’t you just love the touch, smell and feel of wood?

The jet aircraft, by the way, is a de Havilland Vampire. The one in the image was being restored at the RAF Museum in Cosford, a few years ago.

The Quick Brown Dog?

Those of us (and we are a vanishing breed) who can send and receive Morse code will be able to pick out ‘The Quick Brown Dog’ sent in Morse code from this interesting video. I think it should be ‘The Quick Brown Fox’ but who cares. There was a time when I earned my living sending and receiving Morse code messages. Hard to believe these days but it does prove that I am a VERY OLD MAN!!!

The walk without a camera!

I’ve returned to Banff after two weeks away in England. We went on a long walk to Whitehills (the next small town along the coast westwards from Banff) and back with the dog today. You can see our GPS track in the image below (total distance 6 miles). We enjoyed a lot of meandering when we were throwing the ball for the dog (who has never got the hang of ‘fetch’) on the beach. We also saw grey seal basking on the rocks at Whitehills, curlew and a heap of other sea birds were dishing about like wind-up toys on the beaches. There were heaps of other seabirds diving into the sea with ferocity in order to catch their breakfast. The Scottish landscape is beyond breathtaking and we find ourselves living in a small town which must be one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. And, by the way, Whitehills famous for this.

Note to self………remember to take the camera next time!

Banff coastline
The dog walk 6 October 2019

THE BOOK REVIEW (BR 2) – Between Silk and Cyanide: A Code Maker’s War 1941-45

Calling all spies!!!

Backstabbing, interdepartmental rivalry, leaks, lies, deception and dishonourable behaviour.

No, we’re not talking about the UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet or the current Brexit shambles. We’re talking, instead, about the highly secretive Special Operations Executive (SOE) also known as ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’ or ‘Churchill’s Secret Army.’ For American readers, the SOE formed the blueprint for the OSS which, later, became the CIA.

The author of the book, Leo Marks was certainly an irregular and he was the man who took care of the code making within the SOE. Leo’s book doesn’t only talk about secret codes, it details how the SOE grew and changed during World War 2. The SOE was the department that parachuted many extraordinarily brave people (agents) into occupied Europe. In many cases, the agents were caught and tortured and executed by the Nazis.

Among many other things, Leo’s book also discusses the rows and rivalries which took place between the UK’s various military and government departments during World War 2. Some things never change!

If you are interested in espionage, counter-espionage, secret codes, and how World War 2 was fought on many different and surprising fronts, then this is the book for you.

I give Between Silk and Cyanide a well-deserved Richard score a 10/10

PS: there is a curious cross-link between Leo’s book and 84 Charring Cross Road.

The Poo Sucking Pump

If, like we do, you live on a boat then the human waste (AKA pee and poo) has to go somewhere. And so, we have a sealed (very much sealed) tank on the boat known as the Black Tank and, every now and then, we go to the ‘Poo Sucker’ which empties the gently fermenting contents of tank into the town sewage system. Dumping human waste into the sea, canals and rivers is not allowed. Pumping out is a very quick, easy and fragrant process. The image shows the machine which sucks out all the waste.

Our boat, Lucie

THE BOOK REVIEW (BR 1) – Trustee From The Tool Room

Well, I have done the odd film review (usually out of the ordinary films) in the past but now it is time for the odd book review too! I’ll go to any lengths to bore people rigid!

Please see my most recent film review + links to other film reviews here.

I’ve been working my way steadily through books I read many, many years ago and I came across a Kindle version of Trustee from the Tool Room written by Nevile Shute . I must have read the book for the first time in the 1960s. Nevile Shute wrote several books which were made into films – notably, A Town Like Alice and On The Beach

Now, you might think a book published in 1960 would be outdated but a good story remains a good story no matter when it was written (think Dickens here).

Trustee From The Toolroom was written before satellite communications, satellite navigation, cellular telephones, fibre optics, wifi and the Internet. This book will take the form of a nostalgia trip for the old geezers like me and, for youngsters, it will provide an interesting insight into the way things used to be before we were deluged with the technology that surrounds us today and the technology we now take for granted. And, by today’s standards, you might find some of what might be described as politically incorrect language just a little jarring but this is a book of its time.

Engineers and technical people might enjoy this book.

Reading Trustee From The Tool Room is a little bit like watching one of those old black and white films from way back. Basically, it is the satisfying story about an unassuming yet talented and skilled man who goes sets off an extraordinary adventure for valid and noble reasons. Like I said, a good read.

I give Trustee From The Tool Room a Richard score of 9/10

THE FILM REVIEW (FR 13) – Margarita, with a Straw

Well, I am back to blogging again and so I really must tell you about this film – Margarita, with a Straw. This really is a “Don’t miss” film.

I wondered, when I saw this film on Netflix, it it was my kind of film. I nearly didn’t watch it, but I am so glad that I did. I’m not sure how I missed this film which came out in 2014. The film points firmly towards the emotional difficulties and frustrations suffered by people who suffer from cerebral palsy.

The film is just WONDERFUL! It is such an uplifting film on so many levels. It was so good, I watched it through twice! The lead actress, Kalki Koechlin truly nails her part in this intriguing film – a simply stunning performance.

Margarita, with a Straw

I give this film (new award scoring system for the rebirth of this blog) a well-deserved Richard Score 10/10!

Interesting background to this excellent film here.

My Earlier Film Reviews:

Film Review 12 – Unfinished Sky

Film Review 11 – Jab Harry Met Sejal

Film Review 10 – Deception

Film Review 9 – Thi Mai

Film Review 8 – Jab We Met and Dhanak

Film Review 7 – Marguerite

Film Review 6 – Queen

Film Review 5 – The Spanish Affair & The Spanish Affair 2

Film Review 4 – Rust and Bone

Film Review 3 – The African Doctor

Film Review 2 – Arctic Heart

Film Review 1 – The Art of Loving

THE FILM REVIEW (FR 11) – Jab Harry Met Sejal

See all my film reviews here.

I was very much looking forward to watching the Indian language film Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017) but the film turned out to be something of a disappointment.

Jab Harry Met Sejal has all the makings of a good romantic comedy but it just doesn’t make it.  The film is based around the two lead actors, Shah Rukh Khan (Harry) and Anushka Sharma (Sejal) as they wander around Europe looking for Sejal’s lost engagement ring.  I sensed that both lead actors – two highly accomplished actors – were doing their level best to move the film along but the script is bitty and disjointed.  The story line is flimsy.  Now, for any romantic comedy, you have to suspend belief from time to time, but this film asks too much of the audience.  This is a pity because the film could have been so much better.

I give this film the PhotoNomad 6/10 award.

THE FILM REVIEW (FR 10) – Deception

See all my film reviews here.

I am not sure how this truly excellent English language film, Deception (2013) escaped my attention but it is a monumentally brilliant film.  I nearly passed this film over but was drawn to it because Geoffrey Rush plays the lead character.

Deception stars Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks and Donald Sutherland.

Deception’s plot is fast moving, exciting, gripping, entertaining and delightfully complex. This is a film with lots of different interwoven threads running through it from start to finish. Geoffrey Rush gives a towering performance in this film which keeps you guessing from start to finish – and then afterwards! Jim Sturgess also deserves a special mention as the crafty techy bloke – he’s a little bit like ‘Q’ in the James Bond movies.

The photography, sound, sets and music give this film a great deal of depth and atmosphere.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this film is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.  It is a multi-dimensional ‘who done it’ with many twists and turns.

This is another wonderful film and I give it the PhotoNomad 10/10 award + two ticks and a star!


See all my film reviews here.

You will need a box of tissues if you watch this delightful Spanish language film (2017) – Thi May – a light but heartwarming comedy.

A Spanish mother’s daughter is killed in a car accident.  The single daughter was, at the time of her death, about to adopt a child from an orphanage in Hanoi, Vietnam.  The child is called Thi Mai.

The Mother, Carmen (Carmen Machi), travels to Vietnam with her two best women friends (Rosa (Adriana Ozores) and Elvira (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón)) in an effort to adopt the child her daughter would have adopted had she not died. 

Naturally, Carmen and her friends run into all sorts of cultural and legal problems when they arrive, unannounced, in Hanoi and try, with no official backing, paperwork or anything else, to adopt Thi Mai.

Carmen MachiAdriana Ozores and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón give excellent performances.

This is a wonderful film and I give it the PhotoNomad 10/10 award.

Watch the trailer (below) and I am sure you will be hooked!

THE FILM REVIEW (FR 7) – Marguerite (not to be missed!)

See all my film reviews here.

If there is one type of music I really can’t stand to listen to, it is opera. Sorry opera lovers. And so, I resisted watching the French language film Marguerite for quite some time. This was a mistake!

Marguerite is a film inspired by Florence Foster Jenkins who was a true opera afficiando but who could not sing. In the film Marguerite, Marguerite Dumont is played by the wonderful Catherine Frot. Marguerite is a wealthy woman whose deepest wish is to become a famous opera singer. There is but one problem – Marguerite Dumont cannot sing for toffee. Indeed, when she does sing, she belts out one discordant and ear-splitting note after another. Marguerite’s sycophantic friends, her husband and her staff pretend to adore her singing and she waltzes along in a fantasy world believing she has the voice of an operatic angel. She hasn’t (and not by a long shot).

Marguerite is a beautiful made film with magnificent performances from Catherine Frot, the man who plays her husband, André Marcon and especially Marguerite’s highly supportive butler, Madelbos – played excellently by Denis Mpunga. I am sure that we will see much more of Denis Mpunga in international films in the future.

I now need to watch the film Florence Foster Jenkins starring Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep to see how it compares to Marguerite.

Marguerite, set in the decadent 1920s, is wonderfully constructed and photographed film and I recommend it highly.

I give Marguerite the PhotoNomad 10/10 rating plus two ticks, three stars and four cherries on top!

THE FILM REVIEW (FR 5) – The Spanish Affair & The Spanish Affair 2

See all my film reviews here.

The last film I reviewed left me with a real need to find and watch a more uplifting and humorous film. I found two of them. The Spanish language Spanish Affair (AKA Ocho Apellidos Vascos) and its sequel, The Spanish Affair 2 (AKA Ocho Apellidos Catalanes).

Anyone who remembers the old British Ealing Comedies will, I’m sure, enjoy these two films and recognise the comedy format – farce, double meanings, misunderstandings, confusion, physical comedy and so on. The linked plots of both films deal with the North/South divide in Spain and the meandering and erratic love affairs between the central and supporting characters. I’m sure there are in-jokes in both films that you would have to be a Spanish speaker to understand. I enjoyed watching both films.

The leading lady of both these films, Clara Lago, can be seen in a new English language film starring Liam Neeson called The Commuter (2018).

I give the Spanish Affair and the Spanish Affair 2 a Photo Nomad 9/10 rating.

See other film reviews – click here

The Spanish Affair

The Spanish Affair 2

THE FILM REVIEW (FR4) – Rust and Bone

See all my film reviews here.

I’m afraid this French language film just didn’t do it for me.  If you enjoy gritty drama, then you would probably enjoy this film.  This film portrays the lives of people who are struggling to get by in the most difficult circumstances.  There are some brutal fight scenes – bare knuckle fighting – and also some distressing scenes involving a child. Overall, this film left me feeling uneasy and unsettled.  This film has a very hard and unpleasant edge to it.

I give this film a Photo Nomad 4/10 rating.  Simply put, I did not enjoy this film and, at times, was tempted to stop watching it.  Not a story well told.

See other film reviews – click here

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